Persistence of the extinction of fear memory requires late-phase cAMP/PKA signaling in the infralimbic cortex

Jeferson Machado Batista Sohn, Suzen Tortato Furtado de Souza, Ana Maria Raymundi, Jessica Bonato, Rubia Maria Weffort de Oliveira, Jos Prickaerts, Cristina Aparecida Stern*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Fear extinction is a form of new learning that inhibits expression of the original fear memory without erasing the conditioned stimulus-unconditioned stimulus association. Much is known about the mechanisms that underlie the acquisition of extinction, but the way in which fear extinction is maintained has been scarcely explored. Evidence suggests that protein kinase A (PKA) in the frontal cortex might be related to the persistence of extinction. Phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) specifically hydrolyzes cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). The present study evaluated the effect of the selective PDE4 inhibitor roflumilast (ROF; 0.01, 0.03, and 0.1 mg/kg given i.p.) on acquisition and consolidation of the extinction of fear memory in male Wistar rats in a contextual fear conditioning paradigm. When administered before acquisition, 0.1 mg/kg ROF disrupted short-term (1 day) extinction recall. In contrast, 0.03 mg/kg ROF administration in the late consolidation phase (3 h after extinction learning) but not in the early phase immediately after learning improved long-term extinction recall at 11 days, suggesting potentiation of the persistence of extinction. This effect of ROF requires the first (day 1) exposure to the context. A similar effect was observed when 9 ng ROF or 30 mu M 8-bromoadenosine 3',5'-cAMP (PKA activator) was directly infused in the infralimbic cortex (IL), a brain region necessary for memory extinction. The PKA activity-dependent ROF-induced effect in the IL was correlated with an increase in its brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein expression, while blockade of PKA with 10 mu M H89 in the IL abolished the ROF-induced increase in BDNF expression and prevented the effect of ROF on extinction recall. These effects were not associated with changes in anxiety-like behavior or general exploratory behavior. Altogether, these findings suggest that cAMP-PKA activity in the IL during the late consolidation phase after extinction learning underlies the persistence of extinction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107244
Number of pages14
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Volume172
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Fear conditioning
  • Phosphodiesterase
  • PTSD
  • BDNF
  • Roflumilast
  • TIME-DEPENDENT INVOLVEMENT
  • VERBAL WORD MEMORY
  • PHOSPHODIESTERASE-4 INHIBITORS
  • MOLECULAR TARGET
  • OBJECT MEMORY
  • HUMAN BRAIN
  • CONSOLIDATION
  • ROFLUMILAST
  • HIPPOCAMPUS
  • ROLIPRAM

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